Newfoundland dogs are good to save children from drowning, but you must have a pond of water handy and a child, or else there will be no profit in boarding a Newfoundland. – Josh Billings
Okay, we didn’t have a pond, but there was a pool, and no human children were in attendance, but there certainly were some four-legged sons and daughters. And even though none of them were Newfoundlands, they were drooling, yapping, jumping, bucking, playing, running, tails-a-waggin’, chase-me-chase-me, dog-paddling mutts. Four of them, all shapes and sizes, tormenting us and each other, whacking their mile-a-minute tails on sunburned legs, and generally wreaking havoc in the water, on the grass, and under picnic tables. Salsa was spilled, Tostitos went flying, and more margos were strewn across the cement than actually consumed. Well, almost. It was Cujo meets a rabid Old Yeller when Cowpoke Alley presents, “Father’s Day Goes to the Dogs”, starring “Boo” as the amiable Rin-Tin-Tin, “Jasper” as the fun-loving Benji, “Annie” as the giant blockheaded Hooch, and “Mack”, as the adopted mutant love-child of Marmaduke and Scooby-Do.
Small boy’s definition of Father’s Day: It’s just like Mother’s Day only you don’t spend so much. – Unknown
Yes, it was Father’s Day, and Cinderella and yours truly had completely taken leave of our senses. Under the influence of several cocktails a few days earlier, a brilliant plan had been hatched in our soggy heads, and all the eggshells of creativity laid down an idea of such fantastic proportion and wildly creative bubbles of inspiration, wonder and astonishment, all culminating in…oh, who am I kidding? We got sloshed one night and decided to throw a taco feast. There, I’ve said it. And where better to have food and frolic than at the Club 6019, where the refrigerator is stuffed to the gills, and the bar is well stocked. And even though the she was off gallivanting about on a cruise ship somewhere around Germany, we felt Margaret was there in spirit, scolding the animals and selecting appropriate dinnerware. Yes, the plates matched the wine goblets, the utensils were generally clean, and ALL the napkins were CLOTH. It was I who foolishly channeled Margaret’s inner Martha Stewart, taking at least 3 hours and several libations to choose from the plethora of tablecloths and napkins hidden away in just one frickin’ bureau. Plaids, pastels, florals, solids, stripes, paisleys, dots, spots, stars, gingham, and every single solitary holiday represented, from Easter to Elephant Appreciation Day. And I’m not even talking about the 97 OTHER stacks of aforementioned dining gear, stuffed away in the darkened hall closet shelves, where the light is dim, and the spiders are brave souls.
Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is “soap-on-a-rope.” – Bill Cosby
In hindsight, I suppose my dad probably had more exciting things to do that day, like washing his shoelaces, or surfing the mind-boggling array of programs on his DISH network, where the sheer number of stations seems to multiply like Mormons on a daily basis. But, with a bit of gentle prodding, and the promise of presents, he and Dot fearlessly arrived to join in the fun and frivolity. My elusive uncle was present, sporting has newly acquired Crocs and a Tahitian tan, while Jill merrily floated upon the water, perched perilously on a raft, attempting to keep a pair of kid-size Aqua Explorer fins from slipping off her toes. Unfortunately, I forgot my new camera once again (the dude rolls his eyes in exasperation), and missed that photo opportunity altogether, a picture undeniably worthy of Better Homes & Gardens, Backyard Magazine, or at least The Enquirer. After much diving, swimming and chlorine consumption, our famished crowd gathered in The Club’s well-appointed kitchen, for what can only be described as enough taco fixin’s to feed the entire cast of extras in a Cecil B. DeMille movie. Because even though she denies it within an ounce of her very being, Cinderella, much like her mother, is the queen of MORE. More beans! More meat! More tortillas! More lettuce, sour cream, tomatoes, olives, salsa, guac, and onions than Chevy’s can produce in a single day. And let’s not forget the cheese. CHEESE, CHEESE, AND MORE CHEESE. “Grate more cheese! Shred more cheese! Are we out of cheese? That’s not enough cheese! Is that ALL the cheese? Stop eating the cheese! WE NEED MORE CHEESE!” Wow.
A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of. – Ogden Nash
So we stuffed our faces and loosened our belts, content in the knowledge that a Cold Stone Creamery cake was just a few spoonfuls away. Wandering down the hallway to the back bathroom door, I begin to hear the scratch-scratch-scratching of the Mack dog, trying frantically to gain entrance inside, where he was absolutely certain Jill was missing him. “Let me in! Or I’ll huff and I’ll puff”…well, you know the story. Thus begins the Call of the Wild portion of our tale, where there actually was no huffing and puffing, but whining, clawing, and head-butting were the specials of the day. And in the 1.47 minutes it took me to carry dessert from the patio freezer to the kitchen, I heard what sounded like a raging, T-Rex-sized buffalo attempting to level the house. Curiously, and almost reluctantly, I scampered back to the bathroom, whereupon I discovered what appeared to be a HUGE doggie dental imprint in the door. One gigantic snout-shaped hole right through the wood, shards of splintered prefab timber everywhere, and one dopey dog with toothpicks in his teeth. Um, okay. Not wanting to spoil the impending Dad’s Day gift giving, I kept this relatively staggering piece of information to myself. I hesitantly envisioned the verbal rampage, the fur-flying carnage, and one dopey dog sucking up to mom.
A father is a banker provided by nature. – French Proverb
Later, after disclosing my destructive discovery, there was a mad dash to the scene of the crime, where much yelling and screaming and OH MY GAWD-ings took place. In the end, the dopey dog survived, the inexpensive door could be replaced, and no lives were lost. Even Jeff remained amazingly calm…I’m bestowing much credit to the tequila. Thank goodness we had dad there, who calmed everyone’s sweaty nerves, assessed the situation, and announced that everything would be fine. Offering his door buying, door hanging, and door painting services, he once again proved to be the Helpful Hardware Man. So as the evening drew to a close, our guests left sated and fairly happy, while Cinderella and myself remained to assess the damage. The party table was stripped, the dishwasher was loaded, and 97 vats of Tupperware were filled to the brim with leftover cheese. However, as we waved from the backyard gate to bid our company good night, my brain-cell-deprived roommate, literally, let the dogs out.
There are only two rules. One is E. M. Forster’s guide to Alexandria; the best way to know Alexandria is to wander aimlessly. The second is from the Psalms; grin like a dog and run about through the city.
– Jan Morris
To my horror, Jasper “the pork chop” dog, bolted from the gate and sped across the street at a blinding pace, smack onto one of Fresno’s busiest street corners. I stared in disbelief at the complete and utter bliss on his pudgy mug, as he darted about car fenders, his flagpole of a tail in the air, ears flying, and total ignorance of any danger about him. Meanwhile, the adrenaline level of two blondes kicked in, and we found ourselves romping about the intersection in our swimsuits, dodging hood ornaments and screaming like banshees, with threatening promises of Choke Chains and Electric Fences. Crikey. The little monster was finally halted when an SUV stopped, and Jasper tried to peek in the passenger window as if to say, “Hey, where are you goin’? Can I go with you?” I was tempted to pitch him head first into their car and say, “Here, TAKE the little bastard!” Luckily, we managed to snag the brat by his collar, drag him into the yard, and try to slow down the pounding of our chests. After a couple shots of Jose and the ability to speak again, we finally took the quick drive home, where we collapsed in a crumpled heap. Boy, being a dog-mom is hard work. But in all probability, not nearly as hard as being a dad with three daughters. Hey, at least we never played in the traffic.
You ask of my companions. Hills, sir, and the sundown, and a dog as large as myself that my father bought me. They are better than human beings, because they know but do not tell – Emily Dickinson